08 November 2007

Dept. of Corrections

Dear The New Criterion,

In the current issue Jeffrey Hart writes:
Jacques Barzun was so eminent a figure that it is surprising to me that he remained so accessible and encouraging to much younger men. Then and now, when I think of Barzun, I recall the Oxford clerihew about the great classicist and polymath Benjamin Jowett:

My name is Jowett
Of Balliol College;
If I don’t know it,
It is not knowledge.
Alas, that is not a clerihew. Neither is it an accurate quotation. The famous verse about Jowett was:
First come I. My name is Jowett.
There's no knowledge but I know it.
I am the Master of this College,
What I don't know isn't knowledge
While we’re at it, the January 2006 issue arrived in my mailbox minus its cover. While vandalism perpetrated by a Leftist postal worker can’t be ruled out (why are so many postal workers Communists?), it seems likely the missing cover is the result of a mishap at the printing plant. I would be much obliged if an intact copy were sent as a replacement.

Thank you,



  1. You shouldn't subscribe, much less read, that scurrilous rag The New Criterion, with its pretentious intellectuals and lousy poetry. In fact, that very magazine REJECTED several poems of mine, and I was not awarded the New Criterion Poetry Prize! So that is what you get, and probably also why they tore the cover off your magazine--which was not done by Communists (there are no Communists, it is the right-wingers making you paranoid again), but by interns from The New Criterion, that scurrilous rag, trying to harass my few readers. Forgive me, I am a little peaked this afternoon, I just got three novels I had forgotten I even wrote back in the mail. And now I am going to have to get a job the bookstore! Talk about Corrections . . .

  2. Ha! Though to be serious for a moment, there are Communists everywhere and the TNC has seemed to have declined. And a lot of the poetry they publish is disapointing, though this month has some new translations of Horace. How can you not like that?

  3. I just looked out the window, and I didn't see any Communists. That's enough for me. Sorry to hear about Mr.Williams' incredible difficulties. But it is his own fault, I suspect. He should try to be more obscure, like me.